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Date of Birth : May 17th 1904

After completing his military service, Gabin returned to the entertainment business, working under the stage name of Jean Gabin at whatever was offered in the Parisian music halls and operettas imitating the singing style of Maurice Chevalier which was the rage at the time. He was part of a troupe that toured South America and upon returning to France found work at the Moulin Rouge. His performances started getting noticed and better stage roles came along that led to parts in two silent films in 1928.

Two years later, he easily made the transition to talkies in a 1930 Pathé Frères production titled Chacun sa Chance. Playing secondary roles, Gabin made more than a dozen films over the next four years, including films directed by Maurice and Jacques Tourneur. However, he only gained real recognition for his performance in Maria Chapdelaine, a 1934 production directed by Julien Duvivier. Cast as a romantic hero in a 1936 war drama titled La Bandera, this second Duvivier-directed film established Gabin as a major star. The following year, he teamed up with Duvivier again, this time in the highly successful Pépé le Moko that became one of the top Grossing Films of 1937 worldwide; its popularity brought Gabin international recognition. That same year, he starred in the Jean Renoir masterpiece La Grande Illusion, an anti-war film that was a huge box office success and given universal critical acclaim, even running at a New York City theatre for an unprecedented six months. This was followed by another one of Renoir’s great successes: La Bête Humaine (The Human Beast), a film noir tragedy based on the novel by Émile Zola and starring Gabin and Simone Simon, as well as Le Quai Des Brumes (Port of Shadows), one of director Marcel Carné’s most acclaimed films.

Flooded with offers from Hollywood, for a time Gabin turned them all down until the outbreak of World War II. Following the German occupation of France, he joined Jean Renoir and Julien Duvivier in the United States. Divorced from his second wife in 1939, during his time in Hollywood, Gabin began a torrid romance with actress Marlene Dietrich. However, his films in America proved less than successful.


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La Bete Humaine ( 1939 )

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